Thursday, 22 February 2018

A poem by Kitty Coles


These trees have eyes deep in their green trunks:
we feel them creeping on our skin, lifting
the fine hairs on our arms, making
our scalps shift. We are silent under them.

There are no paths. We walk and push aside
thin whip-like branches that spring back
in our wake, creepers that hang and move
like hanks of hair. There are holes

in the trunks, odd gaps that gape and o,
filmed thick with webs, stuffed with a muttering
of leaves becoming mulch, a stink of rot.
An apple rests in one, shiny and clean

and green and startling in its virulence.
The birds that scuffle in the canopy,
run in the undergrowth, won’t pierce its flesh.
It burns, a jewel in the tree’s dark throat,

and the bark sloughs itself in sunburnt strips
that drift, translucent scales, through hazy air.
The old roots break the earth, impede
our progress. We falter under

the arch of this cathedral, which lifts
its arms to the sun and shadows our way
so we receive light sieved and secondhand,
only that apple bright for miles ahead.

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey with her husband and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. 'Seal Wife' her first pamphlet was published in 2017 by Indigo Dreams.

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